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Flathead Lake
Vacation Travel Guide

Visit the lovely lake created thousands of years ago after glaciers carved ridges, peaks and valleys in Montana’s Rocky Mountains.

The sprawling blue jewel of Flathead Lake with nearly 200 square miles (500 square kilometers) of surface area and more than 160 miles (260 kilometers) of shoreline is the largest natural freshwater lake in the contiguous U.S. west of the Mississippi River. Explore the strikingly beautiful views and recreational opportunities of these vast waters.

Approach the lake on either of two scenic highway routes. On the west see panoramic lake views from lookouts over the crystal clear lake below the towering peaks of the Mission and Swan ranges. The slow winding route along the eastern shoreline offers breathtaking sunset vistas over the lake. In late July stop at roadside stands to sample the fresh crop from the cherry orchards lining the road.

On the lake itself, public beaches and state parks offer access to pebble and sand beaches for watersports enjoyment. The clear waters are perfect for swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and boating. From Dayton Harbor on the western shore, rent a boat and motor to Wild Horse Island State Park for fabulous hiking and wildlife viewing. Look for the herd of wild horses that still inhabit the island.

The consistent breeze and sheltered bays on Flathead Lake make it a sailor’s paradise. Alternatively, rent a powerboat and water skis. Find charters and watercraft rentals at marinas in the villages of Polson, Bigfork, Lakeside, Somers and Dayton. After your day on the water, visit the quaint shops, restaurants and breweries in these small towns.

Fish in the deep waters abundant with lake trout. Bring your gear to look for 50-pound (23-kilogram) lake trout. The sheltered bays offer ice-fishing opportunities when winter weather conditions are right for a thick freeze.

Observe patriotic parades and firework displays in villages around the lakes for Independence Day. Participate in or watch the Montana Dragon Boat Festival on Flathead Lake in September.

Fly into Kalispell’s Glacier Park International Airport and rent a car to enjoy the beauty and pleasures of Flathead Lake.

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Top things to do in Flathead Lake

Top Hotels Close to Flathead Lake

Beautiful Large Lakefront Home Sleeps 14
Beautiful Large Lakefront Home Sleeps 14
Rollins, MT
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Situated on a lake, this vacation home is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Flathead Lake and within 6 mi (10 km) of Wild Horse Island State Park and West Shore State Park. ...

5/5Exceptional! (3 reviews)
Great family property!

"Property is spacious to accommodate a large family, well stocked, lots of water toys, prime location."…"

Reviewed on Aug 12, 2019

Beautiful Large Lakefront Home Sleeps 14
Yellow Bay Bliss on the East Shore of Flathead Lake with Prime Beach Frontage
Yellow Bay Bliss on the East Shore of Flathead Lake with Prime Beach Frontage
Bigfork, MT
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Situated on a lake, this romantic vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Yellow Bay State Park and Flathead Lake. Flathead National Forest and Skidoo Bay are ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (9 reviews)
Peaceful

"The location and peacefulness of this spot on the lake, really can’t be beat. The shore and dock were amazing. The kids had hours and hours of fun. The house is cute and with the extra spot above the garage there was plenty of room for my six children. Kitchen was fully stocked with anything you ..."…"

Reviewed on Sep 29, 2020

Yellow Bay Bliss on the East Shore of Flathead Lake with Prime Beach Frontage
New! Brilliant Flathead Lake Home in Yellow Bay!
New! Brilliant Flathead Lake Home in Yellow Bay!
Polson, MT
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This family-friendly Polson resort is located on the waterfront, just steps from Yellow Bay and Flathead Lake. Yellow Bay State Park and Flathead National Forest ...

5/5Exceptional! (6 reviews)
Great retreat

"Had a good time with our extended COVID family. We were able to play nearby in the snow and have a comfortable place to eddy out. lovely stay."…"

Reviewed on Jan 5, 2021

New! Brilliant Flathead Lake Home in Yellow Bay!
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Flathead Lake

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Flathead Lake

Best Lodging Options Near Flathead Lake

Beautiful Large Lakefront Home Sleeps 14
Beautiful Large Lakefront Home Sleeps 14
Rollins, MT
Beautiful Large Lakefront Home Sleeps 14
Yellow Bay Bliss on the East Shore of Flathead Lake with Prime Beach Frontage
Yellow Bay Bliss on the East Shore of Flathead Lake with Prime Beach Frontage
Bigfork, MT
Yellow Bay Bliss on the East Shore of Flathead Lake with Prime Beach Frontage
New! Brilliant Flathead Lake Home in Yellow Bay!
New! Brilliant Flathead Lake Home in Yellow Bay!
Polson, MT
New! Brilliant Flathead Lake Home in Yellow Bay!
Missoula Hide Away...
Missoula Hide Away...
Bigfork, MT
Missoula Hide Away...
Lakefront Condo W/lake Views, Access to Shared Dock & Boat Slip, & Jetted Tub!
Lakefront Condo W/lake Views, Access to Shared Dock & Boat Slip, & Jetted Tub!
Polson, MT
Lakefront Condo W/lake Views, Access to Shared Dock & Boat Slip, & Jetted Tub!
Lakefront Studio Condo W/shared Docks, Bay/mountain Views
Lakefront Studio Condo W/shared Docks, Bay/mountain Views
Polson, MT
Lakefront Studio Condo W/shared Docks, Bay/mountain Views
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.